Just last week I was congratulating myself on the decision not to buy a new car after my last irritating repair session. The car had been driving nicely to and from work and daycare and I was attached to it. I made the right decision, I thought.
Just like letting the universe know that you are done with referee reports, it sent me a warning not to get too cocky. As I started up the car and tried to go in reverse, I failed to be able to move the shift thingy out of park.
I googled “can’t move out of park hyundai”, and came up with a couple of useful pages– the first said to remove the cap on the shift lock override button, which I could not do. So I called DH and he brought a flat-head screwdriver while I took his car to get DC2 from daycare. He used the screwdriver as a lever to pop off the cap and then stuck a pencil down into the recesses to press a white button, and then was able to move the shift into reverse and drive without problem. Before I’d made it out of the parking lot, he was reversing the car and driving it home.
Once home, he used the second useful page and probably some pages after that to diagnose what the problem was. Generally when a Hyundai won’t get out of park that indicates a problem with the break lights. And, in this case, the break lights definitely weren’t working. Since DH is an engineer who works from home, he has various meters that allow him to check cables and things to make sure they’re ok. All the fuses were fine, the cable itself was fine. However, the cable connection was loose, and when DH pushed it back together more tightly, the break lights started working again. It’s been fine for ~a week at this point. So DH canceled the service appointment he’d made with the dealer and we’re assuming the connection got too loose and it should be fine. Just in case, I’m driving around with the shift lock override cap off in case I need to stick a pencil down there.
DH’s company still hasn’t gotten their contract signed and it’s unpaid summer for me, so we’re living off savings. We have enough in the emergency fund to buy a new car, but I’d really rather not. I like my little car and feel comfortable with it. But I don’t like the way my life is disrupted whenever there’s a service problem, even a cheap one. If I could just predict how many technical problems we’ll be having and when then I’d better be able to decide when to get a new car. But, sadly, I don’t have a crystal ball and even if I did I’m not clairvoyant. Given that with DH (temporarily?) unemployed we’re no longer wondering what to do with extra cash, I think I’ll continue holding onto my car for a while. Maybe I’ll feel differently when the school year starts and it’s more important that I get places on time. But the longer I wait, the more likely one of those sleek new Civics will be affordable, or maybe a low-range Tesla, or perhaps another technology will have improved. Most likely we’ll just get a Prius, but the longer I put the shopping off, the better my options will be for the next car that I will drive for (hopefully) more than a decade.